State Election Emergencies Modifications During the 2020 General Election

Despite Congress’ constitutional power to regulate federal elections, it has repeatedly abstained from doing so. The lack of a policy regarding federal elections meant that states were primarily responsible for managing the effects of the pandemic on the 2020 general election. It was up to individual states to enact statutes, issue rules or emergency orders to deal with the public health risks associated with voting during the pandemic. The variations in their responses to the election emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could have had implications on accessibility, turnout, and the perceived legitimacy of the election. To understand this relationship, we to catalog the measures states took in 2020 in preparation for the general election, and draw conclusions as to their effects on vote access. We also determine how or whether a federal government policy on disrupted elections could have aided states in responding to the elections emergency caused by the pandemic.